AgustaWestland and Boeing signed an agreement at Farnborough yesterday which will lead to joint manufacture of the CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopter for the Italian army.

AgustaWestland will perform systems integration and final assembly of aircraft at its Vergiate plant in northern Italy. The industrial agreement also extends beyond Italy to include potential future programmes in the UK, Egypt, Greece, Libya, Morocco and Turkey.

The Italian armed forces have a long-standing requirement for 16 Chinooks and AgustaWestland chief executive Giuseppe Orsi confirmed that the aim is to have a firm contract in place by the end of 2008. The estimated value is €800m.

Chinook signing 

Orsi says: “People sometimes ask how we are able to collaborate in this way and also compete in other markets. This is a phenomenon that in my view is unique to this industry. This is what makes it fun.”

Chuck Allen, general manager of Boeing Rotorcraft, adds: “We always look at customer requirements. Sometimes we conclude that co-operation is the right way forward, sometimes we have a different viewpoint. We are delighted to be co-operating with this agreement and extending what is already a very well-established partnership.”

The Chinook is one of the platforms competing for the US Air Force combat search and rescue (CSAR-X) requirement, but in that case Boeing and AgustaWestland are in different corners, with AgustaWestland part of the Lockheed Martin-led HH-71 bid.

Source: Flight International